China provides the largest mobile and computing market in the world. It’s also a market that Google missed the boat to get their foot in the door. However Chinese based Search Company Baidu has taken the mantle, and is now expanding into other territories. Hoping eventually to make a mark on Silicon Valley.
In fact they are hoping to get their long reaching arms wrapped around the digital lives of everyone living outside of the western world; hoping to capitalize on the booming smartphone and search market that is coming out of those markets we term ‘developing countries’.
Recognizing the almost goliath task of overcoming the monopoly of Google in the western world, they have chosen to first focus on markets such as India, Brazil, Egypt and Thailand. Setting up the kind of research labs and recruiting the type of people we have come to expect from firms like Google.
They already produce a suite of apps that ship on Android based handsets in China that make it the default search and content provider, similar to what Google does in the west.
Baidu certainly believes it has the tools to deliver services to sections of populations that the tech giants built in the US simply do not understand. China’s spectrum of internet users spans 600 million users. However these range from a mirrors of the tech savvy western world user, typically from eastern large cities. Spanning to illiterate and uneducated rural users typical found in Chinas west.
Baidu the Google of the East
US companies such as Google and Facebook seem to associate emerging markets with poor quality and low cost mobile handsets. Or in the case of Facebook, living in an area that does not receive internet access. Baidu recognizes from experience that this is simply not the case and they’re able to pull on that experience of serving similar users.
Baidu to many western users is the epitome of China’s censorship. Struggling to make any impact in Google dominated areas. What would it take for users to ditch Google? Ars Technica is trying to use android without their apps at the moment, but its heavy going. Would you ever switch search providers? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter and Google +.Source: New Scientist